The Northwest Arkansas Community College Board of Trustees approved the contract of Dr. Evelyn Jorgensen who has been hired the college’s new president Thursday.
Dr. Jorgenson’s three-year contract will garner her $176,826 annually. In addition to the stated salary, the contract also includes standard employee benefits and an annual housing allowance of $18,000, all in accordance with State laws and regulations, according to the college.
Dr. Jorgenson said the first thing on her agenda is “listening.” She plans to take time to listen to students and staff before making any decisions. Dr. Jorgenson expects that process will take a few months before she tackles declining enrollment and other challenges facing the school.
She’s been the president of Moberly Area Community College in Missouri for 16 years and during that time met many challenges and made many changes.
One of those changes was adding off-site learning centers and that could be on the horizon for NWACC.
She says in the past schools expected students to come to them.
“I think that's a little bit of an outdated notion and I think we do need to take higher education to the people,” Dr. Jorgenson said. “So in that respect I believe there is a place for off-campus sites and learning centers associated with various communities.”
Dr. Jorgensen is a community college graduate herself.
"I have a passion,” she said. “I have a belief in the value of community colleges and the value of community college students and to whatever extent I can, I want to be sure that our students understand they have great potential in many cases more potential than they realize they have.”
She will take over as NWACC president on July 1. The contract continues through June 30, 2016.
She replaces Dr. Becky Paneitz.